By Barbara Perone
Scammers are like artists, only the tapestries they weave are based on constant deception — which is their true medium.
Again, here’s a final list of some of the more popular employment scams that might still be floating around out there and coming soon to a town near you.
Scam #14 — Work part-time, at home, earn big money
You see an advertisement that says you can work part-time, “make up to $10K a month.” Don’t believe it because in tiny print, at the bottom of the ad, there’s a disclaimer stating that the job “is risky” and you “might not make as much money advertised.” You guessed it, partner, it’s just another job scam.
Scam #15 — Job for part time Regional Manager, Payroll Clerk
You get an email from an unscrupulous “company” trying to find a Regional Manager, or Payroll Clerk, to work at home, part time.
The “real” job is to move money for this “legitimate company” or “process payments between the partner’s clients and the company.” Overseas thieves need people, particularly in the United States, to do their dirty work for this scheme to be successful. Once again, if you fall for this one you’ll be taking a crash course in Money Laundering 101.
To start this “job,” the “company” will send you “money orders or counterfeit checks” totaling hundreds, sometimes, thousands of dollars. Then, they’ll ask you to deposit the “payroll” money into your personal bank account. Next, they may tell you to purchase a check writing program so you can enter check routing numbers & account numbers and print out the checks for the company’s “employees.” The printed checks look real and even bear an official-looking watermark signature.
The “company” will offer to reimburse you, later, for the cost of the checking writing software. But, don’t hold your breath waiting for a refund — more importantly don’t take the job!
Once you create these “pay checks,” the “company” will then ask you to send them, to various bogus employees, by either by United Parcel Service (UPS) or Federal Express (FedEx) or wire the money, via Wells Fargo. At this point, pucker up and kiss your money good bye. It’s nearly impossible to authorities to recover your pay, or expenses, once you fall prey to this sort of scheme.
Scam #16 — Job for part-time “Medical Claims Processor”
This is just a variation of Scam #15. The bogus company will tell you that you can use your home computer to electronically process insurance reimbursements for a health care provider’s medical claims.
The “recruiter” will offer to pay you up-to $1,200 per month & may promise to give you software training, and any medical/technical support you may need. Oh, and you will have to buy equipment or software or both to process the claims. You get the idea by now, you are about to enter scam city – population you.
Scam #17 – Part Time Data Entry Clerk job, pays $25 an-hour
The sure sign it’s a scam is the large salary and minimal hours, typically 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. Advertisements for these jobs tend not to identify the name of the company, which should be another red flag.
Scam #18 — Send fee for work-at-home directories/listings, pay for start-up assembly kits
Get information on how to start your own business. Get rich quick. All you have to do is pay for a pamphlet (or a work at home listing/directory) that gives you information about how to work at home – the same information you can get for free by using various search engines on the Internet.
To find out more about this kind of scam visit: email@example.com Project Fal$e Hope$, a law enforcement sweep, run by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that targets bogus business opportunities and work-at-home scams. To read more about how the FTC actually captured these crooks visit www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/falsehopes.htm.
Scam #19 — Workers needed to post advertisements at online bulletin boards
This is known as a Multilevel Marketing (MLM), pyramid, or Ponzi scheme. You only get paid if other people sign up to pay for the advertisements. A pyramid scheme is a profit making venture where con men promise to make big money, or provide services, to investors and get them to enroll others in the scheme or train them to take part in it.
The pyramid scam is similar to the Ponzi scheme, named after Charles Ponzi, who emigrated from Italy in 1903 and used this method to cheat innocent American investors out of their cash. This fraudulent, money-raising “front” is presented to the unsuspecting individuals as a legitimate investment that offers higher than normal returns.
Early investors get paid by late investors & not from any real company profits. Eventually the scheme collapses when investors stop getting paid and report the company & their losses, or both to, the authorities.
Scam #20 — Work at home, stuffing envelopes or mailing brochures
Again, these scammers often use stolen credit cards to pay to post job opportunities on legitimate web sites or use stolen money to pay to host a bogus web site. The job advertisement might read like this: “Work at home, get paid three-to-four dollars for each envelope you stuff.”
Not a bad job, eh? There’s only one problem – most companies have their own postage machines to automatically stuff and meter their mail, so, they don’t need any human envelope stuffers. If some company tries to offer you this job, tell them where they can stuff it!
If you opt for the brochure mailer’s job, look out, bro! You’ll be told you’ll get paid between $60 and $180 for only a few hours work. Trouble is you’ll only get paid if the mailings result in sales, and even then, you still might not get paid at all. And, once the “company” has all of your personal information, they may try to sell it to a third party. Talk about adding insult to injury!
Scam #21 — Work at home, selling Internet advertisements or reviewing movies
In a variation of Scam #20, the “company” might ask you to review movies or sell advertisements on the Internet, as opposed to being a lowly enveloper stuffer! Boy, these crooks must really think we’re all stupid!
Scam #22 — Advance Fee scheme
Phony recruiter calls you from Europe, the Middle East, Nigeria, or either West or South Africa, to offer you a job. But, you have to pay them money, in advance, so they can get you a work Visa or pay for up-front, out-of-pocket travel expenses. These fake companies use the Internet to hide their true locations and auto dialers to send thousands of calls simultaneously, all over the world, in hopes of getting just one desperate job hunter in their clutches.
Scam #23 — Nigerian 419 employment scheme
By now, we all associate “Nigeria” with the word “scam.” And this one is just another variation of the Advance Fee Scheme. The number 419 refers to an article of the Nigerian Criminal Code that refers to “fraud by means of cheating or using false pretenses to obtaining property or money or both.”
In this scheme, overseas scammers send an email offering you a job in another country. They try to get you to pay an up-front application, or travel expenses, fee. They ask you to transfer money from your bank account to an African bank account, or wire money, via Western Union, to pay a third party in West Africa. You guessed it – just another scam.
Scam #24 — Resume blasting, guaranteed job in 30 days — for a fee
For a fee, these crooks tell you they will distribute your resume to lots of prospective employers. They try to trick you into believing the business is authentic, even offer you a money-back guarantee. Every year, fraudsters swindle thousands of dollars out of people using this employment scheme.
Scam #25 — Obama “stimulus grant program” available for job retraining
This scam may be gone by now, but, it could resurface with a slight twist; say as a Super Storm Sandy retraining grant offered by the state of New Jersey to retrain people who lost their jobs as a direct result of the damaging October, 2012 storm.
In this scheme, you receive an official-looking letter in the mail, or an email, with the web address of a phony government web site. In the letter, or email, the scammer will tell you that because you recently lost your private sector job (perhaps due to overseas outsourcing) you automatically qualify for a grant funded by the government’s economic stimulus plan.
There’s only one problem – there is no such stimulus plan grant program and there never was. Again, this is just another variation of an identity theft scam. The scallywags will tell you that you have to fill out a form to obtain the stimulus money. They’ll ask for your Social Security number, checking account routing number, etc., you know the bit by now, all under the guise of depositing this grant money directly into your account. If you receive a letter, or email like this, report it to your local authorities immediately.
Scam #26 — Rebate Processing Scam
This one has a slightly different twist to it. In this scam you see an advertisement for a Job Processing Rebater. Once again, the con artist will try to hit you up for a fee for: certification, registration, or training. When you pay the fee, the only training documents you receive contain a bunch of useless information; on top of that, you guessed it, there are no rebates for you to process.
Every day there are more and more employment scams popping up all over the country. The 26 listed in this series are just a handful of ones that seem to keep resurfacing the longer this recession continues.
To read the fourth installment of this five-part series, see the blog entitled Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Job Scam.